Well, like most of you, I found myself stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey last week after all the family festivities and holiday leftovers. But like the leftovers that get old after the third day, the thought of jumping back into work after the long week-end wasn’t all that appealing. Not because I don’t love my job, but because sometimes it just seems like there is “too much.”
My advocacy ‘to do’ list this week includes heavy things like tax extenders, overtime rules and disaster relief legislation. Individually, each of these issues is enough to cause most of our members to reach for the antacids, but collectively they can be as overwhelming as the need for a nap after that fat turkey sandwich. Overwhelming in part because they are complex issues, but also because they all deal with Congress. (There’s a word that causes heartburn for many!)
It’s “too much” when I think about what can INCPAS, our relatively small organization of 8,000 members, do to affect change in Congress relative to these issues? The reality is that our elected leaders will return to D.C. ready to push their special fare, each with a menu of issues and an eye on wrapping up in time to return home for the next holiday meal. How can they possibly address all of the important issues? And even more, how can INCPAS make sure our issues are considered important issues?
One solution might be coalitions. Wikipedia defines coalitions as a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. (It’s at this point that you might be recalling your third grade teacher talking about the Mayflower Compact or the Pilgrim-Wampanoag peace treaty as you trace your hand on brown construction paper in the shape of a turkey.)
Ok, yes, coalitions. You may have noticed that recently INCPAS joined several national coalitions in order to sign on to letters to Congress or other influencers making sure our 8,000 voices are heard. We joined Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity to address overtime rule changes with Congress. We signed onto a letter of support for Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Miss. – one of the nine CPAs in Congress) who plans to introduce disaster relief legislation in December. And we support the AICPA and 2,000 other organizations in the Broad Tax Extenders Coalition urging Congress to act immediately to extend over 50 tax provisions that previously expired on December 31 of 2014.
When you read of our actions, you might have wondered, “So? What does this mean?” (And, let’s be truthful, if you are a little more of a “glass is half empty” kind of person, you might have even wondered, “So, what good is this going to do me?”) Well, my answer is, “I’m not sure.” My hope is that joining forces with many with similar causes will allow our voice to be heard and will affect positive change for you and each of our other 8,000 members. I do know that if we did nothing and did not pursue efforts to join forces we would have no effect. I’m pretty sure most members would prefer we at least try. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a board member was discussing advocacy and mentioned that someone once said,” If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu!” So where would you rather be this holiday season?